Many travel businesses anticipate an optimistic outlook for 2022 with a full reopening of the country’s borders from mid-March.
Vietnam’s vaccine coverage is among the top countries in the world, together with the positive results of the pilot border reopening program for inbound tourists from the Lunar New Year 2022 sparked the hope of the local travel companies.
Bui Bang Giang, Co-founder of Asia Exotica Vietnam Travel, is very excited about the reopening and hopes to have clients as soon as this summer 2022.
“We expect the total arrival to be less than 40% of the 2019 level as there are a lot of challenges ahead for the travel industry. I am confident that tourism of Vietnam will recover in the 2024 -2025 period,” she told The Hanoi Times.
Business performance of Asia Exotica Vietnam Travel, a travel business targeting Spanish and Portuguese-speaking travelers, was good before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some tourism businesses forecast, from now to mid-2022, the number of Vietnamese returnees from Singapore, South Korea and the US would surge, creating opportunities for businesses to tap into the international market in the upcoming summer season.
According to Vietravel Hanoi, in the first days of 2022, it catered to four groups from Southeast Asian countries to Phu Quoc Island in the southern province of Kien Giang.
The Vietnamese tour operator planned to welcome a large number of international tourists from Europe and the US, South Korea, Japan this summer.
Deputy Director of Vietravel Hanoi Pham Van Bay said: “We are coordinating with domestic travel partners and overseas general agents to bring international tourists to Vietnam, and send travelers from Vietnam to Southeast Asian and Northeast Asian countries by the end of the second quarter of 2022.”
Meanwhile, Nguyen Son Thuy, General Manager of Indochina Unique Tourist Co., Ltd, shared that the company has now launched tours for Thai travelers after the Vietnam-Thailand air route was re-established. The company expects that April is the holiday season of Songkran festivals in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, so their number of clients from these countries to Vietnam will rise.
As a lot of changes in the industry and travelers' habits happened during the pandemic, local travel companies have studied and are ready to launch new tours to adapt to guests’ newly arising needs, Giang added. “Our key destinations are Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia and we still expect to have clients who do the combo trip as before. Our group tour bookings have outnumbered private tours so we are working hard to keep the price down.”
Ready to welcome tourists to the capital
As Hanoi reactivates its tourism activities following the country’s resumption plan, many local businesses are planning to exploit the potential advantages of Hanoi to build specific products with a focus on cultural tourism.
International Travel Company is cooperating with other tour operators to build a one-day cultural tour to explore the capital and the spring of Hanoi, according to the Director of International Travel Company, Trinh My Nghe.
Director of Ba Vi National Park Do Huu The said they are coordinating with the Forestry University to launch a tour called “Myrtle flower season”, in which visitors would have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the wild nature.
Lack of human resources
However, during the preparation for the resumption of tourism, many travel businesses had faced many difficulties and obstacles, especially the shortage of human resources.
President of the Hanoi UNESCO Travel Club Truong Quoc Hung said one of the major difficulties is the lack of human resources as many tourism businesses had downsized personnel due to the impact of Covid-19.
“It is necessary for the management agencies to support enterprises in training and fostering human resources in anticipation of the full resumption of travel activities,” he told The Hanoi Times.
Director of Tien Phong Travel Phung Xuan Khanh shared, in order to open up tourism activities, besides more open visa policy, removing isolation protocols, simplifying the testing process of Covid-19, in addition, food and beverage facilities open hours need to be extended for tourists' convenience.
In addition, other businesses have proposed to set up a "safe tourism corridor", enhance connections among regulators, airlines, travel agencies, and destinations to build high-quality tours with preferential prices.
In order to remove difficulties and create conditions for businesses to exploit the potential and strengths of Hanoi, the municipal People's Committee has issued a plan on tourism restoration and development in the 2022-2023 year.
In the first phase, the city’s tourism industry focuses on exploiting travelers from Hanoi and other provinces and cities around the capital, then expanding to key provinces in the Central and South, and Ho Chi Minh City. It will also promote links with other localities to build safe tourism products.
Director of the Hanoi Department of Tourism Dang Huong Giang told The Hanoi Times: “Opening the doors to welcome tourists is one of the solutions to restore and develop tourism in the capital and the whole country. The capital’s tourism sector is prioritizing the improvement of the quality of cultural, heritage, craft, and ancient villages, and the development of agro-tourism, health care, and MICE (meeting, incentive, conference, and event).”
A number of travel firms in HCMC have resumed outbound tours after the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) announced the removal of restrictions on air passenger transport.